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Executive Insights

How Sustainability Drives Your Brand Equity

How Sustainability Drives Your Brand Equity

'75% of millennials say sustainability is a shopping priority'. Consumers are paying more attention to how companies prioritise causes from social to environmental care while conducting their businesses. Find out how integrating sustainability efforts into your operations and brand communications is essential for business growth, stakeholder satisfaction and long-term success.

Executive Speakers

Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Limited
Eric Lim, Chief Sustainability Officer, UOB
Dasheng Toh, Head of Commercial Planning & Solutions, Mediacorp
Rebecca Lim, Head of Corporate Marketing & Communications, Mediacorp


Question & Answer

Many companies are carrying out sustainability initiatives, however the scale can be very small at times. How much effort should brands put in before consumers start recognising them as being authentic in this cause?

When it comes to sustainable practices, no effort is too small. As we discussed during the session, we need to recognise that sustainability is a long-term commitment, and be prepared to walk the talk and integrate this across the organisation, from strategic business decisions and core values, to day-to-day operations and engagements. There are many ways for companies to make an impact through actions, be it operational / transactional (i.e., via the products and services you offer), motivational (i.e., offering incentives or means to nudge behaviours), transformational (i.e., an entire business model design or rethink), or a combination or all of the above. What is more fundamental for stakeholders – customers, partners, employees, investors, etc. is to recognise the authenticity of the efforts (not how ‘big’ or ‘small’ the company’s actions are) and its alignment with its organisation’s values. Of course, being able to communicate these values and efforts well helps. But more than a well-written press release or a nice video, companies will find that often, their employees are their best ambassadors – the authenticity will show through in their actions and conviction.

Is there a range or rough estimate of how much money management may have to budget or may be expected to spend for ESG related consultations & professional services to support their journey in sustainability/ESG per annum?

E.g. for a small cap, mid-cap & large-cap company?

Embracing best practices in a business may not necessarily incur costs. Internal stakeholder engagements by staff in charge of championing sustainability is also an effective method.
As an example, for CDL, we engage external consultants for materiality assessments, design of sustainability report and external assurance. From our own experience, building internal capacity is the best way to support a company’s sustainability journey.

Is there a way to show quantifiable results for corporate sustainability efforts from a cost-benefit perspective?

The focus of sustainability should be on future-proofing a business by increasing its resilience to fast-changing consumer behaviours, supply chain and shifting regulations. There is growing evidence that sustainable practices lead to strong investment returns and improved corporate performance in the mid- to long-term. While some sustainability efforts may bring immediate cost savings, a large part of the value creation is in ensuring the business model is fit for purpose, for tomorrow’s world.
To position themselves as tomorrow’s market leaders, businesses will need to apply a range of strategies and solutions to convert sustainability risks into opportunities. However, it is important not to mistaken sustainability as a defensive stance. Sustainable practices will help businesses to establish greater supply chain resilience, identify new opportunities and achieve long-term growth. Many of these positive outcomes are increasingly quantifiable from a cost-benefit perspective as the volume and accuracy of sustainability data continues to improve. However, we also recognise that there are less tangible benefits to be gained from these efforts which can have long-lasting impact on a company’s reputation, standing in the community and credibility.

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